SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — Governor Kristi Noem announced in a news release Friday the review of the state’s social studies standards will be relaunched, and the standards proposed by the Department of Education (DOE) will be set aside.
In the release, Noem said, “I want to ensure we propose standards that accurately reflect the values of South Dakota — Our kids deserve to learn both America’s and South Dakota’s true and honest history, taught in a balanced context that doesn’t pit our children against each other on the basis of race, sex, or background. More work needs to be done to get this right, and we are committed to seeing that process through.”
This announcement follows weeks of controversy and protest after the DOE released a draft which saw the removal of Native American history and culture from the South Dakota social studies education standards, leading to criticism from the state’s indigenous community, as well as educators and members of the workgroup who had initially been called to construct the standards.
The release states the governor’s newest plan will create a new workgroup of stakeholders to develop standards, and that “everyone who has expressed concerns will be a part of the process, including Native Americans.”
On September 20, Noem asked the DOE to not consider revisions to the state’s social studies standards this year, instead directing them to delay the process one year. At that time, Noem stated in part that “the Department of Education changed the working group’s recommendations to the social studies standards significantly, but it is clear to me that there needs to be more public input to bring greater balance and emphasis on our nation’s true and honest history.”
Friday’s release also states that the DOE will also hire a new facilitator to oversee the workgroup process.
As to who will be included in the new workgroup, the release says that the Department of Education will seek stakeholder feedback on members of the new workgroup, and that the public will be given the opportunity to give input on the new standards at public hearings.
KELOLAND News has reached out to the Governor’s office to seek clarification on who would be selecting the new workgroup members and whether members of the previous workgroup will be involved.